Homer Alaska - Outdoors

Story last updated at 5:14 PM on Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sterling angler's June catch still leads as derby nears end

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer

Days of anxiously "watching the ranks" are just about over for Chad Aldridge of Sterling, the current front-runner in the 2011 Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby. Whether Aldridge can hold onto the derby's lead spot remains to be seen, however.

On June 19, Aldridge reeled in a 350.8-pound halibut, a catch that catapulted the fisherman into first place in the derby, an event sponsored by the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center.

"I don't want to get real, real excited about it until closer to September," Aldridge told the Homer News at the time. "I'll be watching the ranks just about every day."

The derby began May 1 and wraps up Sept. 30, giving anglers a little more than a week to bring in a barndoor bigger than the one Aldridge hooked into while fishing in 145 feet of water near Seldovia on his own boat, the Seabee.

Since the derby began in 1986, only five first-place halibut have weighed more than the one reeled in by Aldridge:

• 1996: 376-pound halibut won $25,984 for Jerry Meinders of Wilmar, Minn.;

• 1997: 359.3-pound halibut won $28,844 for Jeffrey Council of Newberg, Ore.;

• 2004: 352.6-pound halibut won $51,298 for Don Hanks of Sparks, Nev.;

• 2007: 358.4-pound halibut won $37,243 for Jerry Saunders of Chugiak;

• 2009: 354.6-pound halibut won $40,440 for Thomas Youngblood of Homer.

The 2010 winning fish was caught by Jamie Olvera. The Fairbanks angler won $40,610 for the 277.6-pound halibut she caught Aug. 28 while fishing with Capt. Ben Martin of North Country Halibut Charters aboard the Fringe Benefits.

Derby tickets are $10 per day and can be purchased at the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center or from many local businesses. Homer has a two halibut limit per day, per person.

Standings for September:

• First place, $1,000: 202.6-pound halibut caught Sept. 4 by Jeff Van Landingham of Eagle River while fishing with Capt. Jeff Cundiff of Good Time Charters aboard the Millie Jane;

• Second place, $750: 178-pound halibut caught Sept. 17 by Sheryl Warmblood of Eagle River while fishing with Capt. Mike Swan of North Country Halibut/Spirit Charters aboard the Beausoleil;

• Third place, $500: 173.6-pound halibut caught Sept. 10 by Dale Lichty of Miller, S.D., while fishing with Capt. Rob Hyslip of Big Bear Halibut Charters aboard the Bear Force I;

• Fourth place, $250: 97.8-pound halibut caught Sept. 18 by Renee Lyons of Denver, Colo., while fishing with Capt. Billy Joe Adams on a private boat;

Lady angler: Warmblood;

Released fish: none;

Tagged fish: none.

For more information, visit www.homerhalibutderby.com or call 235-7740.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.